Cheuang Kavan; Decorah, Iowa; 3/10
Come January 2010, I will have lived in Decorah, Iowa, for 25 years. When I was 11 years old, my family escaped from Laos. We became refugees and stayed in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines. Why did we flee from Laos? To escape the same communism my father had fought in his youth. Under communism, people were forced to work in collective farms, but the crops that were raised went to Russia and China in exchange for weapons and war planes, while the majority of the people were left starving. In 1984, Laos finally allowed the United States and other countries to offer refugees a new beginning. One of the ways they decide where to resettle a refugee is where that refugee has relatives. My aunt and uncle were living here in the United States.